Art Dictionary - A

These are words taken from the ArtLex Art Dictionary at http://www.artlex.com/. The links will take you to the art dictionary, where you will find a definition and examples. The pages are divided into sections of the alphabet. There are pages for A-Ac, Ad-Aj, Al-Am, An, Ao-Ars, Art, and Aru-Az. Some of the links go to the exact page. Other links take you to a general page. Click the link and scroll down to the word listed.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. abacus
    a manual calculator with counters on rods or in grooves
  2. abecedarian
    alphabetically arranged, as for beginning readers
  3. abrade
    rub hard or scrub
  4. abrasion
    erosion by friction
  5. abrasive
    causing irritation or erosion by friction
  6. absorbent
    having power or capacity or tendency to absorb or soak up something (liquids or energy etc.)
  7. absorption
    a process in which one substance permeates another
  8. abstract art
    an abstract genre of art
  9. Abstract Expressionism
    a New York school of painting characterized by freely created abstractions; the first important school of American painting to develop independently of European styles
  10. abstraction
    the process of formulating general concepts
  11. absurd
    inconsistent with reason or logic or common sense
  12. academic
    associated with an educational institution
  13. academician
    an educator who works at a college or university
  14. academy
    a learned establishment for the advancement of knowledge
  15. acanthus
    any plant of the genus Acanthus having large spiny leaves and spikes or white or purplish flowers; native to Mediterranean region but widely cultivated
  16. accelerator
    a pedal that controls the throttle valve
  17. accent
    special importance or significance
  18. accession
    the act of attaining a new office or right or position
  19. accident
    an unfortunate mishap
  20. accidental
    happening by chance or unexpectedly or unintentionally
  21. acculturation
    the adoption of the behavior patterns of one's surroundings
  22. accuracy
    the quality of being near to the true value
  23. acetate
    a fabric made from fibers of cellulose acetate
  24. acetic acid
    a colorless pungent liquid widely used in manufacturing plastics and pharmaceuticals
  25. acetone
    the simplest ketone
  26. acetylene
    a colorless flammable gas used chiefly in welding and in organic synthesis
  27. achieve
    gain with effort
  28. achievement
    the action of accomplishing something
  29. achromatic
    having no hue
  30. acid
    any of various water-soluble compounds having a sour taste
  31. acquisition
    something gained
  32. acropolis
    the citadel in ancient Greek towns
  33. acrylic
    a glassy thermoplastic
  34. action painting
    a New York school of painting characterized by freely created abstractions; the first important school of American painting to develop independently of European styles
  35. aculeate
    having or resembling a stinger or barb
  36. acute angle
    an angle less than 90 degrees but more than 0 degrees
  37. additive
    characterized or produced by addition
  38. adhesive
    tending to stick to firmly
  39. adobe
    sun-dried brick used in hot dry climates
  40. advertising
    the business of drawing attention to goods and services
  41. advocacy
    active support of an idea or cause
  42. adze
    an edge tool used to cut and shape wood
  43. aesthetics
    the branch of philosophy dealing with beauty and taste
  44. after
    happening at a time subsequent to a reference time
  45. afterimage
    an image that persists after stimulation has ceased
  46. aggregate
    a sum total of many heterogeneous things taken together
  47. agitprop
    political propaganda communicated via art and literature
  48. airbrush
    an atomizer to spray paint by means of compressed air
  49. aisle
    a long narrow passage (as in a cave or woods)
  50. alabaster
    a fine-textured white gypsum used for carving
  51. aleatory
    dependent on chance
  52. alias
    a name that has been assumed temporarily
  53. allegoric
    used in or characteristic of or containing allegory
  54. allegory
    a short moral story
  55. altar
    a raised structure on which sacrifices to a god are made
  56. altarpiece
    a painted or carved screen placed above and behind an altar or communion table
  57. aluminum
    a silvery ductile metallic element
  58. ambiguity
    unclearness by virtue of having more than one meaning
  59. ampersand
    a punctuation mark (&) that represents the conjunction "and"
  60. amphitheater
    an oval large stadium with tiers of seats
  61. amphora
    an ancient jar with two handles and a narrow neck
  62. amulet
    a trinket thought to be a magical protection against evil
  63. anamorphosis
    a distorted projection or perspective
  64. anatomy
    the study of the structure of animals
  65. androgyny
    showing characteristics of both sexes
  66. angel
    spiritual being attendant upon God
  67. Angst
  68. Animalia
    taxonomic kingdom comprising all living or extinct animals
  69. animation
    quality of being active or spirited or alive and vigorous
  70. anime
    any of various resins or oleoresins
  71. antefix
    carved ornament at the eaves of a tile roof concealing the joints between tiles
  72. anthropomorphism
    the representation of objects as having human form
  73. antimony
    a metallic element having four allotropic forms
  74. anvil
    a heavy block on which hot metals are shaped by hammering
  75. anxiety
    a vague unpleasant emotion in anticipation of a misfortune
  76. aphorism
    a short pithy instructive saying
  77. Apollo
    Greek god of light
  78. applique
    a decorative design made of one material sewn over another
  79. apprentice
    someone who works for an expert to learn a trade
  80. appropriation
    a deliberate act of acquisition, often without permission
  81. apse
    a projecting semicircular section of a building
  82. aquatint
    a method of etching that imitates the broad washes of a water color
  83. aqueduct
    a conduit that carries water over a valley
  84. arabesque
    position in which the dancer has one leg raised behind
  85. arcade
    a structure composed of arches supported by columns
  86. arch
    a curved masonry construction for spanning an opening
  87. architect
    someone who creates plans to be used in making something
  88. architectonic
    of or pertaining to construction or architecture
  89. architecture
    the discipline dealing with the design of fine buildings
  90. armour
    protective covering made of metal and used in combat
  91. arrangement
    an orderly grouping considered as a unit
  92. art critic
    a critic of paintings
  93. art deco
    a style of design that was popular in the 1920s and 1930s
  94. art history
    the academic discipline that studies the development of painting and sculpture
  95. art nouveau
    a French school of art and architecture popular in the 1890s
  96. artist
    person whose creative work shows sensitivity and imagination
  97. Ashcan School
    a group of United States painters founded in 1907 and noted for their realistic depictions of sordid aspects of city life
  98. aspect ratio
    the ratio of the width to the height of a tv picture
  99. asymmetry
    a lack of balance or proportion among the parts of something
  100. atrium
    a chamber connected to other chambers or passageways
  101. attribute
    a quality belonging to or characteristic of an entity
  102. audience
    a gathering of spectators or listeners at a performance
  103. auditory
    of or relating to the process of hearing
  104. aureole
    the outermost region of the sun's atmosphere
  105. automatism
    any reaction that occurs automatically without conscious thought or reflection (especially the undirected behavior seen in psychomotor epilepsy)
  106. avatar
    the manifestation of a Hindu deity in human or animal form
Created on November 19, 2008 (updated November 19, 2008)

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